Trumpets Interrupt Crusade for the Second Time
After a tough week at Medway the 3XV get back on track with a convincing performance against the league newcomers.
After the excitement of the charity match that the two sides shared last season, it was no surprise that Kent's newest rugby club popped up into the Trumpets fixture list this season.
Anticipation was high in both camps, especially as this time would see two sides going against each other without 'outside assistance'. Cliffe had recorded an eye opening result just the week before and so all was to play for at Donald Biggs Drive on Saturday.
The game started as expected, with huge physicality and both sides meeting each other with similar force in the rucks and mauls. Some may say unexpectedly, the Trumpets seemed to be winning the early collisions and Cliffe's heavily relied on ball carriers in the midfield and upfront were not enjoying the freedom usually allowed to them.
Very early on the Trumpets conceded a penalty in their own 22, however this wasn't converted, something the away side would come to regret. The penalty count then started to rise for the visiting team and the Trumpets used this to push themselves deep into the Cliffe half, following some more battles upfront and some quick ball handling from the Trumpets back line, the returning Jon Cokell managed to get outside his man on the wing and put on the after burners to put the Trumpets 5-0 up. Conversion missed by new Trumpet Dorton, he still protests otherwise, the truth it seems we will never know. (Unless we ask the linesman to reconsider...)
As expected the try galvanised the visitors and they came hard back at the Trumpets, however some heads started to boil and again penalties for the 3XV allowed them to interrupt their opponents, huge hits and feisty contests were apparent across the park showing just how much both sides wanted the game.
The Trumpets second try came from an impressive driving maul from the line out (from a penalty). The 3rd XV set themselves and worked hard to get all the way to the Cliffe line, with warren mckee claiming the points from a huge forwards effort. To note the Gravesend side would've been awarded the penalty try if held up, due to various illegal attempts to stop the maul from crossing the line. Conversion added from the boot of Dorton.
Both sides had their own poor period in terms of discipline and Gravesend has their turn after their second try, law infringements and then some silly mistakes allowed the visitors to attack quickly and sloppy tackling allowed the Cliffe second row to go over for their first try, which was then converted. Cliffe then lost their prop to some poor discipline and had to play the final 5 minutes of the first half with just 14.
The second half saw changes for the both sides in personel terms, but not in terms of the action on the pitch, the temperature was always rising and there was no love lost between the two teams in the nitty gritty of the game. A bit of a stalemate took hold for the first half of the second period, with both sides defence holding firm.
The Trumpets third try however was a little against the run of play, a loose ball that needed reacting too and Trumpet fullback Jamie Faulty did just that, kicking through and not giving up the chase to extend the Trumpets lead to 10 points. Dorton again adding the all important extra 2 to make it 19-7.
Cliffe fought back hard and the Trumpets soaked up most of this pressure however with around 5 minutes to go a fast counter attack allowed the winger, who hadn't seen really any of the ball for the first 75 minutes, managed to get some space and make for the try-line, the somewhat unexpected speed of the chase from the Trumpet prop Sarge had all holding their breath on the sideline, but the wingers speed told at the end and Cliffe took 5 of the points needed to close in on the Trumpets. The conversion was not added, credit to the chasing back of Dorton to stop the winger scoring under the posts.
The last five minutes were tense and once the last play had ended in a Trumpet earned penalty, the game was seemingly won, however a D**k of the day crowning moment was yet to come as Dorton missed touch from this penalty and Cliffe had one last attacking chance, across came Richard Hooper, returning to the side, to make a tackle into touch to finish the game. (He also slide tackled a child in the process but we'll let him off)
FT - 19 - 12
A great game of rugby enjoyed by all and a great result for the Trumpets after a disappointing result at Medway. Many beverages were enjoyed after to celebrate and my head was most certainly not great on Sunday, but a successful weekend for the mighty trumpets.
Next week Maidstone 2's away.